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Amazon Astro home robot: How to preorder Amazon’s $1,000 Alexa bot and all its new gear

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Amazon’s home security robot Astro
Amazon announced several new additions during Tuesday’s product launch, including this new robot, Astro.

 


Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

If Amazon’s invite-only product launch this week hinted at anything, it’s that the tech giant isn’t afraid to create an air of exclusivity. While the new Echo Show 15 and Halo View fitness band with a screen, some of Amazon’s bigger surprises and out-there devices — like the $1,000 Alexa-powered Astro robot and flying Ring drone Always Home camera — may be harder to get, through sign-up emails rather than the typical on-demand click-to-buy offer we’ve come to expect.

There’s a lot to unpack from Amazon’s device-filled reveal. While Hey Disney for Echo devices (here’s more on Echo wake words) and Alexa Together, a new subscription service for caregivers, play into the existing Echo speakers and Alexa assistant in general, Amazon Astro, which is an Alexa voice assistant, security camera and robot all in one, has already raised privacy concerns. And the Ring line has been subject to criticism about privacy issues for years.

Still, if Astro, the flying drone and all the rest have captured your attention as they have ours, we’ll tell you what you need to know to preorder and buy Amazon’s top devices announced earlier this week. This story has been updated.

Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

Astro is a new robot that brings AI to your home. You can sign up to request an invite today and Astro will ship later this year. It’s an adorable robot that follows voice commands and keeps an eye on your home with its periscope camera. Astro can show a live view via the mobile app, so you can check on your home when you’re away. Astro works with Alexa Together and Ring Protect Pro, and comes with a six-month free trial of the latter. Anticipating criticism, Amazon offers some privacy features with Astro:

  • No-go zones
  • Do not disturb features
  • Alexa’s standard privacy features

Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

Amazon partnered with the Honeywell Home thermostat team to create an Energy Star-certified smart thermostat that competes with Nest. Most customers may be able to get the thermostat for free after utility rebates. It’s an Alexa-enabled thermostat that supports routines and automatically adjusts temperatures. It’s available for preorder now and will ship starting Nov. 4. A few of the top features you can look forward to include:

  • Control your thermostat using the Alexa app or voice commands
  • An energy dashboard to breakdown your usage on your Echo device or the Alexa app
  • Thermostat Hunches, which automatically adjusts the temperature

Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

Amazon’s new Echo Show is bigger than previous models. Now, it comes with a 15.6-inch display and only comes in one color: black. However, you can mount it on the wall or place it on a stand. The newest model now has facial recognition for personalized alerts and more when the hub recognizes your face, tightening the competition with Apple. It also comes with personalized to-do lists, like Google’s Hub Max. But the Echo Show 15 comes with a few highly anticipated features.

  • Custom sounds that allow Alexa to listen to specific noises in your home (available in 2022)
  • Visual ID to give you more customized calendars and reminders
  • Customizable Alexa widgets

You can sign up to receive an email when the Echo Show 15 is available for preorder.

Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

The Amazon Glow is a brand-new kid-friendly smart device (yes, it’s different to the Echo Glow night light). Kids can use the video screen to chat with long-distance family and friends. It includes a silicone mat to read, play and draw with loved ones. You’ll also get a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus for access to digital books, games and more. The Amazon Glow comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee if you happen to break it. You can request an invite to the Glow program today.

  • Games and activities from Mattel, Disney, Nickelodeon and Sesame Street
  • Pre-approved contacts using the Amazon Glow app
  • Camera with privacy shutter

Amazon/Screenshot by James Martin/CNET

The Halo View is a new addition to Amazon’s Halo family. The latest Amazon fitness tracker has a few new features, including an AMOLED color display screen. Halo View users can also look forward to Halo Fitness and Nutrition services that will help with exercise and healthy eating. It benefits the Halo user in several ways, including the movement, emotional tone and the camera’s body analyses. And it still works with the original Halo band. But these new additions might be worth upgrading from Amazon’s Halo.

  • 7-day battery life
  • Water resistant down to 50 meters
  • Skin and temperature tracking

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Fido, Virgin add $45/50GB plan for Black Friday

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Fido and Virgin Plus have joined Koodo in offering a $45/mo 50GB Black Friday plan.

Like Koodo, both Fido and Virgin offer a $65/mo plan with 50GB of data plus a $20/mo bill credit for 24 months. That means customers pay $45/mo for two years with the plan.

The plans are only available for new activations and hardware upgrades, which means if you’re with one of these providers, you’ll need to swap to another one.

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You can check out the Fido offer here and the Virgin offer here.

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Hilarious Video Shows Psyduck Startling A Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Player While Taking A Photograph

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One Pokemon Scarlet and Violet fan has shared a funny video that shows a Psyduck appearing out of nowhere to startle a player who was snapping a photo. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are among the best selling titles of the year, despite the mixed reviews from fans and critics globally. The gameplay and multiplayer mode of the latest Pokemon games receive praise and backlash for the myriad performance issues.


Because of these technical problems, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are getting review bombed, but some fans are embracing them. Glitches are common in the latest titles, and players have reported seeing some truly bizarre things in their playthroughs. Some gamers have seen a grotesque glitch in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, whereas a random Psyduck bug is also common. Psyduck makes the headlines again after a player spotted it in rather unusual circumstances.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Reddit user metronn uploaded a video that shows their funny encounter with the duck Pokemon. The user intended to photograph a scenic view of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s region of Paldea. Paldea is a brand-new area introduced in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, which is based on the Iberian peninsula and has diverse geographic features like mountains, forests, and several lakes. In the video, the player attempts to take a picture of a serene place on the shoreside of a water body, with mountains in the background and water flowing peacefully.

After successfully capturing one side of the scenery, the player slowly moves the camera to show the surrounding areas and a few fish pocket monsters in the body of water. As the camera moves, something unusual is seen in the bottom right corner of the screen, which appears to be another Pokemon. This turns out to be a Psyduck, who appears out of nowhere and is standing right next to the user, who was seemingly unaware of its presence. The original poster is understandably startled by seeing the Psyduck, who apparently photobombed their efforts to take a beautiful picture in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

Since its introduction in the first generation, Psyduck has established itself as one of the most famous Pokemon of all time. It has featured in almost every Pokemon game from each generation until the current ninth-gen games, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Psyduck is not the strongest or the fastest pocket monster, but still, it has millions of fans around the world who are excited to see it in unusual circumstances.

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M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: What’s changed?

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The new iPad Pro with M2 chip takes performance another step forward, but what all has changed from the previous-gen iPad Pro? Follow along for an in-depth look at what’s the same and what’s new when comparing the M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro to help you decide what’s the best choice.

In 2021, the 11 and 12.9″ iPad Pro arrived with the powerful M1 chip, Thunderbolt connectivity, 5G for cellular models, new camera features like Center Stage, and more.

Now the 2022 M2 iPad Pro lineup brings a number of tweaks and changes, but many of them are quite minor which could push customers toward the M1 iPad Pro or even iPad Air.

Below we’ll break down all the fine details of the M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro. We’ve also got a full comparison of the new entry-level iPad and more:

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Table of contents

M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro

Performance

The main difference between the new and old iPad Pro is the upgrade from an M1 to M2 chip.

That delivers up to an 18% faster CPU, 35% faster GPU (10-core vs 8-core), and a 2x boost in memory bandwidth from 50GB/s to 100GB/s.

Note: 128, 256 and 512GB models have 8GB RAM, 1TB and 2TB models have 16GB RAM.

11″ M2 iPad Pro 11″ M1 iPad Pro 12.9″ M2 iPad Pro 12.9″ M1 iPad Pro
Chip M2 M1 M2 M1
CPU cores 8 8 8 8
GPU cores 10 8 10 8
Neural cores 16 16 16 16
Storage 128GB – 2TB 128GB – 2TB 128GB – 2TB 128GB – 2TB
RAM 8 or 16GB 8 or 16GB 8 or 16GB 8 or 16GB
Memory bandwidth 100GB/s 50GB/s 100GB/s 50GB/s
Thunderbolt/USB 4
Cellular 5G 5G 5G 5G

Outside of the slight boost in CPU and GPU performance, all the other specs like storage, RAM, Thunderbolt connectivity, and 5G remain the same between the new and old iPad Pro models.

Display

M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro Display

Just like the M1 12.9″ iPad Pro, the M2 12.9″ iPad Pro is the only one that features the Liquid Retina XDR display with miniLED backlighting.

Shared display features across all pro models include up to 120Hz ProMotion, P3 wide color, full laminated displays, anti-reflective coating, and True Tone.

There appears to be just one difference between the new M2 11 and 12.9″ iPad Pro display and the M1 versions – the new Apple Pencil Hover feature.

11″ M2 iPad Pro 11″ M1 iPad Pro 12.9″ M2 iPad Pro 12.9″ M1 iPad Pro
Display 11″ 11″ 12.9″ with miniLED 12.9″ with miniLED
Resolution 2388 x 1668 2388 x 1668 2732 x 2048 2732 x 2048
PPI (pixels per inch) 264 264 264 264
Display brightness 600 nits 600 nits 600 nits SDR, up to 1600 HDR 600 nits SDR, up to 1600 HDR
True Tone
P3 wide color
ProMotion (120Hz)
Anti-reflective coating
Fully laminated display
Liquid Retina Display
Liquid Retina XDR Display
Apple Pencil Hover

Connectivity and accessories

The new iPad Pro models work with the same Apple accessories as the previous-gen iPad Pro. That includes the second-gen Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard, and Smart Keyboard Folio.

Some small upgrades with the M2 iPad Pro include Bluetooth 5.3 and WiFi 6E.

11 and 12.9″ M2 iPad Pro 11 and 12.9″ M1 iPad Pro
Apple Pencil gen 2 support
Magic Keyboard support
5G
WiFi 6
WiFi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3 5.0
USB-C ✅ USB 4 ✅ USB 4
Thunderbolt
Face ID

Interestingly, the new iPad Pro models didn’t get a Magic Keyboard Folio as the iPad 10.

Battery life

The 2022 iPad Pro models with M2 chip feature the same battery life as their predecessors:

  • 10 hours of web or video use on WiFi
  • 9 hours of web use with cellular

Storage and price

Storage remains the same between the old and new iPad Pro models. And pricing – original MSRP pricing – is also unchanged. However, keep an eye out for M1 iPad Pro discounts with the new models now available.

11″ M2 iPad Pro 11″ M1 iPad Pro 12.9″ M2 iPad Pro 12.9″ M1 iPad Pro
128GB WiFi $799 $799 $1,099 $1,099
128GB + cell $999 $999 $1,299 $1,299
256GB WiFi $899 $899 $1,199 $1,199
256GB + cell $1,099 $1,099 $1,399 $1,399
512GB WiFi $1,099 $1,099 $1,399 $1,399
512GB + cell $1,299 $1,299 $1,599 $1,599
1TB WiFi $1,499 $1,499 $1,799 $1,799
1TB + cell $1,699 $1,699 $1,999 $1,999
2TB WiFi $1,899 $1,899 $2,199 $2,199
2TB + cell $2,099 $2,099 $2,399 $2,399

Cameras, video, and audio

M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro cameras
2021 iPad Pro rear-facing cameras

With the iPad Pro rear camera system, you’ve got a 12MP wide lens, 10MP ultra wide lens, LiDAR Scanner, and the True Tone flash.

On the back, you get a 12MP ultra wide lens with Center Stage support.

The only changes between the M2 and M1 iPad Pro, for now, is Smart HDR 4 vs Smart HDR 3 photos and the ability to shoot ProRes video at up to 4K at 30 fps (1080p at 30 fps for 128GB models).

11 and 12.9″ M2 iPad Pro 11 and 12.9″ M1 iPad Pro
12MP wide lens
10MP ultra wide lens
LiDAR
4K video
ProRes video up to 4K 30 fps
Extended dynamic range
Slo-mo video
Rear camera flash
TrueDepth camera with Face ID
Ultra wide 12MP front camera
2x optical zoom out
Smart HDR 3 photos
Smart HDR 4 photos
Center Stage auto-tracking
4-speaker audio
Stereo recording
5 studio-quality mics

The iPad Pro front camera also features support for Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji/Memoji.

Strangely, while the iPad 10 got a handy Landscape ultra wide front camera, the iPad Pro retains the front camera on the top (short side) bezel.

Dimensions, weight, colors

Size and weight are identical between the M2 iPad Pro and M1 iPad Pro according to Apple:

  • M2 and M1 11-inch iPad Pro: 1.03 pounds, 9.74 inches (247.6 mm) high, 7.02 inches (178.5 mm) wide, 0.23 inches (5.9 mm) thick
  • M2 and M1 12.9-inch iPad Pro: 1.5 pounds, 11.04 inches (280.6 mm) high, 8.46 inches (214.9 mm) wide, 0.25 inches (6.4 mm) thick

Color choices remain the same with silver and space gray.

Other small differences

Two more little differences you’ll see with the M2 iPad Pro:

  • Braided USB-C cable in the box instead of a plastic cable
  • “iPad Pro” wordmark on the back instead of “iPad” on previous iPad Pro models
  • M2 iPad Pro space gray may be slightly lighter than the M1 iPad Pro space gray finish with the antenna line for cellular models being more muted
Apple’s space gray finishes as shown on its website. M2 on left, M1 on right

M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro conclusion

Why buy M2 iPad Pro?

When considering all the similarities between the M2 iPad Pro and M1, you’ll probably only want to pick up the new model if you’re a pro with workflows that will benefit from the M2 chip/ProRes support or you’re just okay with spending the money on the latest and greatest from Apple.

The M2 iPad Pro is available at Apple, Amazon, Best BuyBH Photo, and more with stock looking good across the board.

Why buy M1 iPad Pro?

When you can get the vast majority of the M2 iPad Pro feature set with the M1 iPad Pro and the processor difference not being an issue for most users, picking one up at a discount will probably be a popular move.

Also, don’t forget the iPad Air offers a compelling package at an even cheaper price than the last-gen iPad Pro. That is if you’re okay with the 11-inch size.

Read more 9to5Mac in-depth comparisons:

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